We know many of you have questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine. The question we are getting most is “when will it be available for me?”
Currently, Boerne Family Medicine has NOT RECEIVED AND HAS NOT been approved by the state to administer this vaccine – storage requirements are very difficult to attain. More than likely, local pharmacies will be the primary outlet for these vaccines initially. So to repeat, Boerne Family Medicine will not be able to administer this vaccine in the near future. We will send updates as we receive them.
As far as availability from other community sources, local pharmacies and possibly an urgent care clinic may have the vaccines available soon. If you are over 65 or an adult with certain chronic health conditions like diabetes, severe immunosuppression, chronic heart or kidney disease, it seems likely that at some point in January the vaccine will be made available for administration to this group. The rest of the population will be open for available vaccine administration in the months after that, most likely later in the spring, depending on manufacturing capacity.
Vaccine distribution is being regulated by the State of Texas and is a work in progress. They have set up a tier system to help prioritize vaccine doses as they become available. It is possible the state will decide to administer the vaccine to “essential workers” as a group earlier, but they have not made that decision at this time. The tiers outline are as follows:
Tier 1A: Nursing Home patients, Healthcare workers and First Responders
Tier 1B: Over 65 and Over 16 with certain chronic health conditions
Tiers 2 and beyond: “to be determined”
More information about these tiers can be found here: https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine.aspx
In trial studies, these mRNA vaccines have proven highly effective in preventing symptoms of COVID-19 and preventing severe illness from COVID-19: studies showing 90-95% effectiveness. As a comparison, the flu vaccine is usually 40-60% effective depending on the year. Much more research needs to be done about how these vaccines affect a person’s ability to transmit the virus to others, but researchers are optimistic about this. Time did not allow this specific datapoint to be analyzed in detail yet, but it remains an important question.
In trial studies, these mRNA vaccines appeared to be very safe. Adverse events were similar to most vaccines and included local pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, as well as muscle aches, fatigue and low-grade fevers. No significant catastrophic adverse effects were noted in the studies. The second dose of the vaccine was more likely to cause muscle aches and fever, especially in younger people, but these symptoms resolved after 1-2 days in the vast majority of cases.
The majority of our office staff and all our medical providers received the covid-19 vaccine last week. Approximately 15% of us had general muscle aches and fatigue, lasting 1-2 days, but no fever. Almost everyone had some arm pain at the injection site similar to a flu or tetanus shot, and 15% had mild local redness. We had no severe reactions.
At this point, the vaccine remains our most likely way to begin to see fewer of our of at-risk neighbors and friends hospitalized, or worse, succumb to this virus. It is also our most likely way to avoid transmitting this virus unknowingly to at-risk people around us, putting them at risk of complications from COVID-19. In addition, receiving the vaccine means those who are recipients are unlikely to need to quarantine when exposed to COVID-19 in the future, after the vaccine has taken full effect following the second dose. As a result, this vaccine remains our best option for returning our businesses, social organizations and activities, sporting events and lives in general to a more normal routine, not to mention the lives protected. Those are the reasons we chose to receive our vaccine: protect those around us and get our neighbors businesses and lives back to normal.
At Boerne Family Medicine, we care about your health. We want to make sure you have all of the tools that you need to manage your health during this uncertain period.
Ben Stahl, MD
Ashley Simpson, PA-C
Victoria Reigelsperger, MSN, RN, FNP-C
Michael Eaton, FNP-C